How to Pack for a Trip to Florida
Packing for a trip to Florida isn’t as simple as throwing your clothes into a suitcase; you’ll need to take into account the climate and current season, as well as where you are traveling and by what means. Driving down to Florida is much different than taking a plane regarding space and item restrictions. Planning to go the beach is different than spending the day at a theme park. Read on for advice on how to pack your bags for your trip, as well as what you cannot pack on an airplane.
Regardless of the occasion or time of year, you'll want to bring these key items on any trip to Florida:
- sun hat or visor
- flip-flops or sandals
- comfy walking shoes (preferably water-proof)
- loose, light-weight clothing
- umbrella or poncho
What Clothes to Pack for Each Season
Spring and Summer
Temperature lows are around 75–80°F, while highs tend to sit in the lower 90s. Visiting Florida during the summer calls for much lighter, more breathable clothing than when traveling in the winter, along with other accessories.
Summers in Florida are very sunny and humid, so expect to be out in high heat during the day. Sunscreen is a must, as well as a good pair of sunglasses. If you plan on going to a beach, pool or water park, don’t forget your swimsuit!
While long sleeves might be the last thing you think to pack for 90-degree weather, bring a light jacket for chilly indoor spaces. Restaurants, hotels, and movie theaters put the AC on full-blast in the summer, so you might need to warm up again after cooling off!
Fall and Winter
The temperatures in Florida are fairly favorable all year round; however, during the winter, lows range around 39–65°F (depending on the region of the state) to daytime highs between 65–77°F. This warmer winter weather makes Florida a popular winter vacation spot, as it isn’t too hot or too cold.
With the mild temperatures, you won’t need a heavy winter jacket unless Florida goes through a rare cold spell. Even in the winter, it is usually very sunny out—sunscreen is still a must! Be sure to have one pair of pants for a particularly cold day; otherwise, shorts or capris should be just fine. Especially if you're staying in South Florida, you may still break a sweat in December!
Check the Weather
While Florida is famous for being warm and sunny year-round, check the weather a week before your trip as well as each day of your vacation. The sky may change from sunny to storming to sunny again in no time flat!
Clothes for Spring or Summer
sundress or romper
light jacket or cardigan
Clothes for Fall or Winter
tank tops or short sleeves
light-weight long sleeves
mid-length or maxi-dress
medium-weight jacket or sweatshirt
Dress in Layers
For summer, a light cardigan or button-down shirt can turn your beachwear into a night outfit for chilly air-conditioned spaces. In the winter, wear a tank top underneath a long-sleeve pullover so you can easily transition from sunny afternoons to cool evenings.
What to Bring for the Pool or Beach
Clothing & Accessories
multiple bathing suits
aloe gel for sunburns
sarong or beach cover up
sand toys for children
flip-flops or sandals
jar or bag to collect shells
a quick change of clothes
cooler for snacks and drinks
portable music speakers
sun hat or visor
mesh bag for wet bathing suits
sealable plastic bag to protect phone, keys, and wallet
small comb for wet hair
Can't Fit Beach Gear in Your Suitcase?
If you're driving down to Florida, it might be easy enough to pack everything in the trunk of your car, but if you're flying or working with tight space, consider buying or renting beach items around your vacation spot. Tourist shops offer hourly deals for water sport items such as boogie boards, snorkels, and flippers. For essentials like aloe vera gel, beach towels, and sand toys, head to a local supermarket like Publix or Walmart for inexpensive conveniences.
What to Pack for a Day at a Theme Park
- Draw-string bag or small light-weight backpack
- Visor or sun hat
- Comfortable, waterproof walking shoes
- Paper fan or water mister
- Ponchos for intermittent rain and/or splashing water rides
- Refillable water bottle
- Non-perishable snacks like pretzels, pb&js, fruit, or energy bars
Amusement Park Hacks
- Wear a comfortable pair of walking shoes and appropriate clothing for going on rides. Save your flip-flops, skirts, and dresses for another day.
- When going on attractions, you are often required to leave your bags with the operators of the ride until you are finished. Most theme parks offer lockers for this purpose, but it's still better to carry as few valuables as possible.
- Personally, I prefer wearing boys cargo shorts with huge, button or velcro pockets; that way, I don’t have to worry about carrying around a bag for my wallet, phone, and other loose objects. If there is someone in your party that doesn’t enjoy rides, however, valuables can be left with them while they wait.
- When at a theme park, it is easy to drop your wallet or lose track of a debit or credit card. By the time you finally realize your card is gone, it could have already been used by someone else, making cash a much better option.
- While fun and character-themed, amusement park food items are outrageously priced! Save money by packing your own food and refillable water bottles. Be sure to check the official policies of the theme park you're going to, but both Disney and Universal allow outside food items.
- If traveling with young children, plan your day based on age-appropriate rides and activities.
More Useful Items for the Sunshine State
Because of Florida's...
anti-frizz hair spray
524 different species of birds
pocket English-Spanish dictionary
vibrant Latin-American communities
Have you ever been to Florida?
Traveling by Airplane
If you plan on flying to Florida to visit, your luggage will be limited to carry-on and check-in space, as well as what TSA allows you to bring. If you are close enough to drive down, you can bring as many items as you can fit into your vehicle, as well as your own food and drink. Airplanes, on the other hand, restrict certain items in your carry-ons and other luggage due to safety concerns. Some examples of this include:
- sharp objects; box cutters, knives, and scissors
- sporting goods; baseball bats, hockey sticks
- guns and firearms; ammunition, guns
- tools; hammers, drills, wrenches
- self-defense items; nightsticks, throwing stars
- explosive materials; fireworks, flares
- disabling chemicals; chlorine, liquid bleach
A full list of items prohibited on airplanes and carry-ons can be found on the TSA government website. Some of the items listed, while not allowed on the airplane itself, can be stored in checked luggage for the duration of the flight. Also, keep in mind the amount of extra space in your bags; you’ll want to leave some room for souvenirs!
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10 Hot Florida Attractions
Questions & Answers
I'm thirteen, and we are moving to Florida. I was wondering what to bring to Florida like on the plane and the likes. What would you suggest?
If you are going to have liquids in your carry-on bag, they can only be in 3.4 oz containers, and all have to fit into a one quart-size bag. Other than that, solid snacks are okay to bring in your carry-on bag on the plane, as well as electronic devices to keep you occupied! Just make sure you have a bag that fits your airline's carry-on dimensions, and that everything you plan on bringing on the plane can fit into your bag. Airlines can be strict about carry-on bags, especially on crowded flights.Helpful 7
Can I bring a glass bottle of perfume in my luggage when flying to Florida?
If it's in carry-on luggage, it can only be a 3.4-ounce container or smaller, or in a one-quart bag in your carry-on. If it's in your checked luggage, any size is fine.Helpful 3
How old do I have to be to ride a plane?
The only age restriction I know of applies to flying alone - if you are under 12 years old and flying without an adult, you are considered an unaccompanied minor and will need to be supervised to and from the plane. If you are older, you can fly alone without assistance.Helpful 1